2 Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Read all of 2 Corinthians 5
3Â What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify Godâ€™s faithfulness?4Â Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written:
â€œSo that you may be proved right when you speak
and prevail when you judge.â€
5Â But if our unrighteousness brings out Godâ€™s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.)6Â Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7Â Someone might argue, â€œIf my falsehood enhances Godâ€™s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?â€ 8Â Why not sayâ€”as some slanderously claim that we sayâ€”â€œLet us do evil that good may resultâ€? Their condemnation is just!
9Â What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10Â As it is written:
â€œThere is no one righteous, not even one;
11Â there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12Â All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.â€
13Â â€œTheir throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.â€
â€œThe poison of vipers is on their lips.â€
14Â â€œTheir mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.â€
15Â â€œTheir feet are swift to shed blood;
16Â ruin and misery mark their ways,
17Â and the way of peace they do not know.â€
18Â â€œThere is no fear of God before their eyes.â€
19Â Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20Â Therefore no one will be declared righteous in Godâ€™s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
21Â But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.22Â This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23Â for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,24Â and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25Â God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his bloodâ€”to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunishedâ€” 26Â he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27Â Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28Â For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29Â Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30Â since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31Â Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
“All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head.”
Mockery was a great ingredient in our Lord’s woe. Judas mocked him in the garden; the chief priests and scribes laughed him to scorn; Herod set him at nought; the servants and the soldiers jeered at him, and brutally insulted him; Pilate and his guards ridiculed his royalty; and on the tree all sorts of horrid jests and hideous taunts were hurled at him. Ridicule is always hard to bear, but when we are in intense pain it is so heartless, so cruel, that it cuts us to the quick. Imagine the Saviour crucified, racked with anguish far beyond all mortal guess, and then picture that motley multitude, all wagging their heads or thrusting out the lip in bitterest contempt of one poor suffering victim! Surely there must have been something more in the crucified One than they could see, or else such a great and mingled crowd would not unanimously have honoured him with such contempt. Was it not evil confessing, in the very moment of its greatest apparent triumph, that after all it could do no more than mock at that victorious goodness which was then reigning on the cross? O Jesus, “despised and rejected of men,” how couldst thou die for men who treated thee so ill? Herein is love amazing, love divine, yea, love beyond degree. We, too, have despised thee in the days of our unregeneracy, and even since our new birth we have set the world on high in our hearts, and yet thou bleedest to heal our wounds, and diest to give us life. O that we could set thee on a glorious high throne in all men’s hearts! We would ring out thy praises over land and sea till men should as universally adore as once they did unanimously reject.
“Thy creatures wrong thee, O thou sovereign Good!
Thou art not loved, because not understood:
This grieves me most, that vain pursuits beguile
Ungrateful men, regardless of thy smile.”
“Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him.”
It is well with the righteous always. If it had said, “Say ye to the righteous, that it is well with him in his prosperity,” we must have been thankful for so great a boon, for prosperity is an hour of peril, and it is a gift from heaven to be secured from its snares: or if it had been written, “It is well with him when under persecution,” we must have been thankful for so sustaining an assurance, for persecution is hard to bear; but when no time is mentioned, all time is included. God’s “shalls” must be understood always in their largest sense. From the beginning of the year to the end of the year, from the first gathering of evening shadows until the day-star shines, in all conditions and under all circumstances, it shall be well with the righteous. It is so well with him that we could not imagine it to be better, for he is well fed, he feeds upon the flesh and blood of Jesus; he is well clothed, he wears the imputed righteousness of Christ; he is well housed, he dwells in God; he is well married, his soul is knit in bonds of marriage union to Christ; he is well provided for, for the Lord is his Shepherd; he is well endowed, for heaven is his inheritance. It is well with the righteous–well upon divine authority; the mouth of God speaks the comforting assurance. O beloved, if God declares that all is well, ten thousand devils may declare it to be ill, but we laugh them all to scorn. Blessed be God for a faith which enables us to believe God when the creatures contradict him. It is, says the Word, at all times well with thee, thou righteous one; then, beloved, if thou canst not see it, let God’s word stand thee in stead of sight; yea, believe it on divine authority more confidently than if thine eyes and thy feelings told it to thee. Whom God blesses is blest indeed, and what his lip declares is truth most sure and steadfast.
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“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
2 Corinthians 5:21
Mourning Christian! why weepest thou? Art thou mourning over thine own corruptions? Look to thy perfect Lord, and remember, thou art complete in him; thou art in God’s sight as perfect as if thou hadst never sinned; nay, more than that, the Lord our Righteousness hath put a divine garment upon thee, so that thou hast more than the righteousness of man–thou hast the righteousness of God. O thou who art mourning by reason of inbred sin and depravity, remember, none of thy sins can condemn thee. Thou hast learned to hate sin; but thou hast learned also to know that sin is not thine–it was laid upon Christ’s head. Thy standing is not in thyself–it is in Christ; thine acceptance is not in thyself, but in thy Lord; thou art as much accepted of God today, with all thy sinfulness, as thou wilt be when thou standest before his throne, free from all corruption. O, I beseech thee, lay hold on this precious thought, perfection in Christ! For thou art “complete in him.” With thy Saviour’s garment on, thou art holy as the Holy one. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Christian, let thy heart rejoice, for thou art “accepted in the beloved”–what hast thou to fear? Let thy face ever wear a smile; live near thy Master; live in the suburbs of the Celestial City; for soon, when thy time has come, thou shalt rise up where thy Jesus sits, and reign at his right hand; and all this because the divine Lord “was made to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
“Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord.”
It is exceedingly beneficial to our souls to mount above this present evil world to something nobler and better. The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are apt to choke everything good within us, and we grow fretful, desponding, perhaps proud and carnal. It is well for us to cut down these thorns and briers, for heavenly seed sown among them is not likely to yield a harvest; and where shall we find a better sickle with which to cut them down than communion with God and the things of the kingdom? In the valleys of Switzerland, many of the inhabitants are deformed, and all wear a sickly appearance, for the atmosphere is charged with miasma, and is close and stagnant; but up yonder, on the mountain, you find a hardy race, who breathe the clear fresh air as it blows from the virgin snows of the Alpine summits. It would be well if the dwellers in the valley could frequently leave their abodes among the marshes and the fever mists, and inhale the bracing element upon the hills. It is to such an exploit of climbing that I invite you this evening. May the Spirit of God assist us to leave the mists of fear and the fevers of anxiety, and all the ills which gather in this valley of earth, and to ascend the mountains of anticipated joy and blessedness. May God the Holy Spirit cut the cords that keep us here below, and assist us to mount! We sit too often like chained eagles fastened to the rock, only that, unlike the eagle, we begin to love our chain, and would, perhaps, if it came really to the test, be loath to have it snapped. May God now grant us grace, if we cannot escape from the chain as to our flesh, yet to do so as to our spirits; and leaving the body, like a servant, at the foot of the hill, may our soul, like Abraham, attain the top of the mountain, there to indulge in communion with the Most High.